Deters does not belong

By Ethan Nichols, World News Editor

Joe Deters does not belong at Xavier University. Not only are his viewpoints abhorrent, but they are also completely antithetical to Xavier’s Jesuit values.  

On Feb. 23, Xavier announced that State Supreme Court Justice and former Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters would be joining Xavier as “justice in residence.”  

In the announcement, the University said that “as part of his role, upon mutual agreement with program leaders and faculty, Justice Deters will participate in various class sessions. He will also take part in events outside of class in academic and co-curricular programs related to his area of professional expertise.” 

For those of you who are not familiar with Joe, let’s dig into why exactly he deserves no place in our campus community. 

Not only is Joe Deters staunchly pro-death penalty, but he also wants to bring back the firing squad. Yes, you heard me right. Joe Deters wants the state to execute people by firing squad. 

Yet according to Catholic doctrine, the death penalty is “inadmissible.” In fact, shortly after Deters made these statements on the firing squad, a Vatican and Jesuit official condemned Deters publicly.  

The Rev. Paul Mueller, vice director and superior of the Jesuit community at the Vatican Observatory, said “I am disappointed, embarrassed and scandalized that you, not only a Catholic but also a fellow alumnus of St. Xavier High School, have used the platform of your public office to oppose and confuse the moral teaching of the Church in so open a fashion.” 

Why is Xavier taking a very public stance to contradict the church in this way? Deters clearly does not align with Jesuit catholic teachings. 

Xavier has, on multiple occasions, committed itself to principles of anti-racism by addressing criminal justice reform and using a racial equity lens.  

Joe Deters doesn’t believe in anti-racism. He’s made that abundantly clear. 

Deters stated that “the false narrative that police are hunting Black men in the streets hurts the Black community. The belief that we should reduce sentences of violent people because of systemic racism hurts the Black community.” 

Johnny Mathias, campaign director for Color of Change, an organization working to promote civil rights, social justice and Black voting rights, has long opposed Deters. 

“Prosecutor Deters has a clearly documented track record for using racially coded dog whistles. Time and time again, he has pathologized black households and shown that he views some members of our communities as irredeemable,” Mathias said. 

After an incident in which a group of Black men allegedly beat up a white man, Deters used inflammatory and racially coded language to describe the incident and those involved. 

“The root cause of this is there’s no discipline in the homes, they don’t go to school, you know, they live off the government, no personal accountability and they just beat people up for no reason, and it’s disgusting,” Deters said.  

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial board condemned Deters over the remarks.  

“This is a disturbing set of worn stereotypes for an enforcer of law and order to utter. He should take care not to use his bully pulpit to feed racial discord in our community.”  

Xavier can release flowery statements and put signs outside Bellarmine Chapel all they want — but actions speak louder than words. If we, as a university, are truly committed to anti-racism, then we can not allow Joe Deters to join our community. 

Joe Deters is dangerous. His views are antithetical to our values. To let him join our campus is irresponsible and represents a direct contradiction to our values. 

The University should immediately rescind its offer to Joe and cancel plans to have him join Xavier University.